Putin in the early days of the invasion of Ukraine said,

“… today’s Russia remains one of the most powerful nuclear states. Moreover, it has a certain advantage in several cutting-edge weapons. In this context, there should be no doubt for anyone that any potential aggressor will face defeat and ominous consequences should it directly attack our country.”

But this is an invented threat. And Putin knows that. NATO has made many wrongheaded decisions and taken many misguided actions, but an invasion of Russia isn’t on its agenda and Putin knows that. But by suggesting it, Putin was threatening – attempting to intimidate – the rest of the world.